By JAMES RAINIS
Los Campesinos! are, at the moment, the flag-bearers for grandiosely upsetting, heart-on-your-sleeve indie rock. Initially lumped in with the twee pop scene following the success of debut L.P. Hold On Now, Youngster… , the band has been delving into darker territory ever since 2008’s We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed. Much of this is due to lead singer Gareth David’s death-obsessed lyrical screeds. Riddled with self-deprecation and desperation, he’s unafraid to approach uncomfortable and ugly subjects. Vomit, blood and his eventual demise are recurring themes. “Avocado, Baby” is the second single from Los Campesinos!’s forthcoming No Blues, and it reminds us why Gareth is able to get away with his fixatedly bleak imagery: The band’s shout-along choruses are killer, with beautifully cacophonic guitars and whirring synthesizers that suggest something a lot cuddlier than, say, lines like, “May she who casts the first fist of dirt across the casket have mourners lick the mud from her fingernails.” The song’s charm lies in its matter-of-fact depressiveness. In the world of Los Campesinos!, shared misery is all we got, so we might as well tackle it all with the help of cheerleader chants and outrageous avocado/heart metaphors.
James Rainis is a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He can be reached at email@example.com.
“I Want You to Love Me”
By KAITLYN TIFFANY
Last weekend in Portland, Fiona Apple debuted a new song which is allegedly titled “I Want You to Love Me.” The recording available online is the live-version with piano and vocals only, and on it Apple’s signature jazz-inspired phrasing and melodies hit as hard as ever. The lyrics are simple and sweet, with the refrain of “I want you to love me,” but Apple’s one-of-a-kind vocal richness and frankly, her ability to sound love-desperate enough as to be borderline bonkers (in the loveliest way possible), make it undeniably powerful. Even among most of the music scene’s most talented recent contributors, (e.g. CHVRCHES, Lorde, Janelle Monaé, Haim) a big part of the game has become about style and flare, regardless of whatever alternative or anti-establishment form that may take. Even when an artist is said to “let their guard down” or “show vulnerability,” it’s a conscious choice. But Apple has maintained her spot in the foreground of American music since 1996 because no such distinction exists for her. Every single track is no-holds-barred, no boundaries, obsessive, messy and gorgeous. As noted in Pitchfork’s review of her 2012 L.P.: “Unguarded honesty doesn’t go out of style.”
Kaityln Tiffany is a junior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“You’re Not the One”
By LUCAS COLBERT
Quilt, a three-person indie folk-rock outfit that started out in 2009, has garnered an increasing amount of buzz and acclaim. After a busy tour, the up-and-coming group has announced the release of their sophomore album, Held in Splendor, and with it, the first single, “Arctic Shark.” The track is a subtle yet noticeable departure from the group’s previous work, which, to some extent, blended into the indie music landscape at the time of the band’s inception. With “Arctic Shark,” the band is able to further define its particular musical brand, moving progressively away from the generic
indie-rock era. While it certainly showcases the light, hypnotic guitar strums that listeners have come to expect in from Quilt’s earlier work, the song also builds upon this — adding a moody bass-line and almost sitar-like riffs. This, coupled with the song’s more upbeat percussion, gives “Arctic Shark” a greater sense of momentum and musical drive that is nicely balanced by singer Anna Fox Rochinsk’s dreamy, cooing vocals. In fact, apart from a somewhat lackluster piano trail-off ending and a few confusing, albeit aesthetically beautiful lyrics, the track truly does display a leaner, more concentrated effort. So, if “Arctic Shark” is any indication, fans should look forward to a musical growth spurt in Quilt’s upcoming album.
Lucas Colbert is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at email@example.com.